The .32 H&R Magnum is a rimmed cartridge designed for use in revolvers. It was developed in 1984 as a joint venture between Harrington & Richardson and Federal Cartridge. The .32 H&R Magnum is produced by lengthening the .32 S&W Long case by .155", to 1.075".
The .32 H&R Magnum offers substantially more performance than other .32 caliber handgun cartridges, such as the .32 ACP, and can be considered an effective small game hunting cartridge. Its higher velocity offers a flat trajectory, while the light weight of the bullets results in low recoil. The older .32-20 Winchester was extremely popular in the Winchester lever- and Colt single-actions, available at the turn of the century, for small-medium game hunting. The .32 H&R offers near duplicate performance.
One of the .32 H&R magnum's favorable attributes is that it offers .38 Special energy levels and allows a small-frame revolver to hold 6 cartridges, whereas a similarly sized revolver in .38 special would only hold 5 rounds. Penetration is also increased compared to the .38 special with bullets of the same weight.
Max pressure for the .32 H&R Mag is set at 21,000 CUP by SAAMI.
The .327 Federal Magnum is based on the .32 H&R Magnum and improves performance to levels near that of the .357 Magnum.
Though the .32 H&R was not designed with a particular task in mind, it is fairly well suited to small game hunting. It is also an acceptable self-defense cartridge. It is not generally considered a good "plinking" cartridge, due to high cost and poor availability of ammunition, but reloading can mitigate those issues.
Many handgun hunters use the .22 Winchester rimfire magnum with great success in hunting small to small-medium game, up to coyote in size. The .32 H&R magnum offers increased stopping power due to its heavier bullets and larger caliber, with the added bonus that the .32 H&R magnum can be reloaded for cost savings.
In 2013, Hornady introduced a .32 H&R magnum "Critical Defense" cartridge designed for self-defense. It propels an 80 grain FTX (flex tip), bullet at 1,150 fps muzzle velocity. Buffalo Bore offers +P rated cartridges with either a 100 gr JHP or a 130 gr. Keith Hard Case SWC bullets. (Buffalo Bore says not to use any +P rated cartridges in original H&R revolvers.)
Since the .32 H&R Magnum headspaces on the rim and shares the rim dimensions and case and bullet diameters of the shorter .32 S&W and .32 S&W Long cartridges, these shorter cartridges may be fired in arms chambered for the .32 H&R Magnum. Longer cartridges are unsafe in short chambers, so more powerful .32 H&R Magnum cartridges should never be loaded into arms designed for the .32 S&W or .32 S&W Long.
In addition to Harrington & Richardson, other manufacturers who have offered revolvers in .32 H&R Magnum include Dan Wesson Firearms, Charter Arms, Freedom Arms, Smith & Wesson (J and K frames), Ruger (Blackhawk, Bisley, Single-Six, GP100, SP101, Ruger LCR), and Taurus and New England Firearms (NEF).
American Derringer, Bond Arms, and Cobra Firearms offer derringers in .32 H&R Magnum. Thompson Center Arms offered their Contender pistol in it as well.
Marlin offers the Model 1894CB lever-action rifle in .32 H&R Magnum. Unlike other Marlin 1894s, the 1894CB loads from the front of the tubular 10-shot magazine, like their Model 39A rimfire rifle, and has a faster, 10% shorter throw lever action. It has a 20" tapered octagonal barrel and an overall length of 37.5" and weighs 6.5 lbs.